Cynorkis debilis (Hook.f.) Summerh.

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Cynorkis debilis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Above Nhamadzi River, lower Chimanimani Mts.

Cynorkis debilis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Above Nhamadzi River, lower Chimanimani Mts.

Cynorkis debilis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Above Nhamadzi River, lower Chimanimani Mts.

Cynorkis debilis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Small tributary of Nhamadzi River, lower Chimanimani Conservation Area.

Cynorkis debilis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near Chikukwa Village, Lower Chimanimani Mts

Cynorkis debilis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near Chikukwa Village, Lower Chimanimani Mts

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Bicornella debilis (Hook.f.) Szlach. & Kras
Bicornella hanningtonii (Rolfe) Szlach. & Kras
Cynorkis hanningtonii Rolfe
Cynorkis johnsonii Rolfe
Habenaria debilis Hook.f.
Common names:
Status: Native
Slender terrestrial herb, 8-45 cm tall, growing from paired, ovoid,hairy tubers, 1.5-2 cm long. Basal leaves 1-2, often grey-green, elliptic, up to 15 cm long; another 1-2 smaller leaves along the peduncle, sheathing. Inflorescence 4-24 cm, laxly to fairly densely few-many-flowered, flowers more or less secund; bracts lanceolate, 6-7 mm long. Flowers white or pale to deep pink with purple spots on the lip. Dorsal sepal 3-5 mm long convex; lateral sepals spreading, 4-9 mm long' Petals 3-5 mm long, forming a hood together with the dorsal sepal. Lip 5-10 mm long, 5-lobed with 2 small lobes each side near the base. Midlobe much larger. Spur 3-11 mm long, slender, tapering, more or less straight.
Notes: See C. anisoloba for comparison.
Derivation of specific name: debilis: weak, frail, feeble.
Habitat: In high rainfall Brachystegia woodland, amongst grasses near streams and sometimes in evergreen forest.
Altitude range: (metres) 900 - 1900 m
Flowering time:Jan-May
Worldwide distribution: From Angola through DRC to Tanzania south through Zambia and Malawi to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe distribution: C,E
Growth form(s): Terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Saturday 9 February 2013

Ball, J.S. (2009). Terrestrial African Orchids, A Selected Review. Pages 32 - 33. (Includes a picture).

Baumann, G. (2005). Photographic Guide to Wildflowers of Malawi Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi Pages 216 - 217. as Cynorkis hanningtonii (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 318. as Cynorkis hanningtonii

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 19. As Cynorkis hanningtonii

Fibeck, W. & Dare, M. (1993). Terrestrial Orchids in Zimbabwe. Excelsa 16 Page 55. as Cynorkis hanningtonii

Grosvenor, R.K. (1976). A list of orchids indigenous in Rhodesia. Excelsa 6 Page 79. As Cynorkis hanningtonii

La Croix, I. & Cribb, P.J. (1995). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora Zambesiaca 11(1) Pages 53 - 55. as Cynorkis hanningtonii (Includes a picture).

La Croix, I. et al. (1991). Orchids of Malawi A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam Pages 47 - 48. as Cynorkis hanningtonii (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 95. as Cynorkis hanningtonii

Morris, B. (1967). The epiphytic orchids of Soche Mountain. Historic and Scientific Society of Malawi Journal 20(2) Page 30. As Cynorkis hanningtonii

Morris, B. (1970). Epiphytic Orchids of Malawi The Society of Malawi Pages 25 - 26. As Cynorkis hanningtonii

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 118. as Cynorkis hanningtonii

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1976). A Provisional Checklist of the Orchidaceae of Mozambique South African Journal of Botany 42(4) Page 390. as Cynorkis hanningtonii

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 133. as Cynorkis hanningtonii

Summerhayes, V.S. (1956). African orchids XXIII Kew Bulletin 11(2) Page 218.

Summerhayes, V.S. (1957). African orchids XXIV Kew Bulletin 12(1) Page 109. As Cynorkis hanningtonii

Summerhayes, V.S. (1968). Orchidaceae (Part 1) Flora of Tropical East Africa Pages 36 - 37. as Cynorkis hanningtonii (Includes a picture).

Timberlake, J., Darbyshire, I., Wursten, B., Hadj-Hammou, J., Ballings, P., Mapaura, A., Matimele, H., Banze, A., Chipanga, H., Muassinar, D., Massunde, J., Chelene, I., Osborne, J., Shah, T. (2016). Chimanimani Mountains: Botany and Conservation. Report produced under CEPF Grant 63512. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London. Page 47.

Williamson, G. (1977). The Orchids of South Central Africa J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London. Pages 38 - 39. As Cynorkis hanningtonii (Includes a picture).

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 84.

Other sources of information about Cynorkis debilis:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Cynorkis debilis
Flora of Malawi: Cynorkis debilis
Flora of Mozambique: Cynorkis debilis
Flora of Zambia: Cynorkis debilis

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Cynorkis debilis
African Plant Database: Cynorkis debilis
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Cynorkis debilis
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Cynorkis debilis
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Cynorkis debilis
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Cynorkis debilis
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Cynorkis debilis
JSTOR Plant Science: Cynorkis debilis
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Cynorkis debilis
Plants of the World Online: Cynorkis debilis
Tropicos: Cynorkis debilis
Wikipedia: Cynorkis debilis

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Cynorkis debilis., retrieved 27 May 2024

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